"Another Dark, Disappointing Ending"
What You Need To Know:
ATM is skillfully made. The writer, director, and cast create characters the audience can empathize with and cheer. The movie’s early restraint with foul language and violence loosens, however. Especially as the stakes rise toward the climactic battle. And, some things don’t make sense in the plot. Finally, the killer’s success at the end is disappointing, dark, and grim. So, ATM ends up being unacceptable. In terms of both entertainment and morality.
(PaPaPa, B, HH, LLL, VV, S, AA, M) Very strong mixed pagan worldview with some moral elements ultimately overcome by a grim, dark ending where the villain succeeds, plus light references to Christmas at a Christmas party; at least 31 mostly strong obscenities and profanities; strong but not graphic violence includes four deaths with two victims filmed from a distance being beaten with a blunt object, another punched and stabbed, character drowns, woman knocked unconscious when she falls, SUV kills another character off-screen, an innocent man is mistaken for the real killer and dies, killer beats a security guard to death from a distance earlier in the movie and his corpse is mistakenly burned; some lurid comments and main protagonist wants to take woman home with him; no nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; no smoking or drugs; and, villain frames hero.
ATM is a well-made thriller with good pacing, high tension, and good performances. It’s relatively discreet in terms of violence and foul language, but the ending is grim, dark, and disappointing.
In the basic story, an incredibly clever killer – who never says a word, never shows his face, and never reveals his motives – traps three young investment bankers in an isolated glass-enclosed ATM lobby or booth in the middle of the night amid freezing temperatures. He then tries numerous to break into the booth and kill them.
The bankers are first shown at a Christmas party at their office. Corey discusses working up the nerve to ask Emily out. His office pal, David, convinces him to approach her right then and offer her a ride home, before the friend begs a ride too since he’s too drunk to drive. On the way home, far outside the city, they stop for cash at an isolated ATM. There, they are menaced by a mysterious, very large figure whose unseen face is shrouded by a winter coat.
It soon becomes clear the mystery man wants them dead after he kills a passerby and a security guard outside the booth. The rest of the movie consists of numerous cat and mouse battles between the young trio and the killer. The victims decide to wait out the freezing cold and dark of night until morning, when they expect help to come.
[SPOILERS FOLLOW] The killer proceeds to terrorize them in numerous ways. He floods the booth with water. He slams a truck through the glass. He also lures the bankers out of the booth in several dangerous escape attempts that don’t pay off. Ultimately, the killer escapes and manages to frame the one banker who heroically survives.
ATM is intriguing because it’s skillfully made by first-time director David Brooks and writer Chris Sparling. They and the cast create characters the audience can empathize with and cheer. The movie’s early restraint with foul language and violence loosens, however. Especially as the stakes rise toward the climactic battle. Also, some things don’t make sense in the plot. Finally, the killer’s success at the end is disappointing, dark, and grim. So, ATM ends up being unacceptable. In terms of both entertainment and morality.